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November is National Family Caregivers Month

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November is National Family Caregivers Month. According to the Administration for Community Living, “National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM) is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country. It offers an opportunity to raise awareness of caregiving issues, educate communities, and increase support for caregivers. The national observance is spearheaded by Caregiver Action Network (CAN), a nonprofit that provides free education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers. CAN announced the 2021 theme, #CaregiverAnd which encourages family caregivers to celebrate the passions and interests that enrich their lives. This is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country.”

The theme of the month is #CaregiverAnd… Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage Family Caregivers. Families as Allies is grateful for this recognition. We are family caregivers and we know the toll caregiving can take on us and on all of you who are in those same shoes. We are committed as an organization to provide information and support to family caregivers and advocate for policies that help family caregivers, including those for more and different types of respite. We have respite information on the resources page of our website, but please let us know if any of it needs to be updated based on your experience.

These are some national resources related to family caregiving:

Even if you are not a family caregiver, you likely know someone who is. We encourage you to think about ways you can support the family caregivers that you know. We notice and appreciate your support.

Sometimes people encourage family caregivers like us to be sure and “take care of ourselves.” We understand that comes from a caring place, but we gently and respectfully ask you to think about this: It doesn’t always help us to hear those words. If it were easy—or, on some days, even possible—to take care of ourselves, we probably would have done that by now. We have become very good at figuring things out and being resourceful.

We ask that you instead consider the hashtag for this month, #CaregiverAnd… Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage Family Caregivers, and think about taking one of the actions represented by those words instead. Let us know that you recognize what caregiving is like. Offer to assist by doing an errand or a chore. Ask if we want to be included in an event and what you can do to help make that work if so. Give us support by offering time to vent or share if we want. Your quiet and attentive presence speaks volumes. Talk to us, engage, find out what we want, and help make sure that decisions about family caregivers aren’t made without family caregivers at the table.

You are part of our village and mean the world to us. It makes a big difference when you #Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage us.

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